Unit 3: Wild BC

Spy-Hopping with Orca Whales

Killerwhales_jumping. Photo by Robert Pittman.
Orca whales jumping

Reading Strategy

AUDIO-1-BT-44x44

You are getting better and better at telling the difference between fact and opinion. Let’s practice one more time.

 

Which of these statements are facts? Which are opinions?

1. Orca whales are mammals. fact or opinion?
2. We should not build dams on rivers. fact or opinion?
3. Orca whales live in family groups called pods. fact or opinion?
4. It is a sign of stress when a whale’s fin flops to one side. fact or opinion?
5. We should not allow whales to be kept in pools. fact or opinion?
Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter. 

Predict whether these statements are true or false

6. A male orca whale can live up to 90 years. true or false?
7. Orca whales hunt by sending out sound waves and listening as the waves come back. true or false?
8. If a whale’s fin flops to one side, it is a sign that the whale is stressed out. true or false?
9. Orca whales mate for life. true or false?
10. Orca whales can hold their breath underwater for up to one hour. true or false?

You will return to your predictions after you read Spy-Hopping with Orca Whales.

Word Attack Strategy

Word Patterns

AUDIO-1-BT-44x44When we read, we sometimes come across words we cannot sound out or do not understand. Sometimes writers put a definition of a word in the text so that you don’t have to look it up in a dictionary.

Here are some examples you have seen before:

  • Coal was very important back then. Coal is a black rock that can be used for fuel.
  • Sook-Yin Lee has been called “a cultural Jill of all trades.” This means she can do a little bit of everything. 

Here are some examples you will see in the reading for this chapter: 

  • A female orca whale is called a cow.
  • A male orca whale is called a bull.

When the writer does not give us the meaning, we can make a guess based on what makes sense. To make a good guess, we have to think about the other words around it. Read this sentence:

  • Orca whales must breathe air through a ____________ on top of their head.

What word might make sense in the blank? Once you make a guess, you will likely find it easier to read this sentence:

  • Orca whales must breathe air through a blowhole on top of their head.

Try this

Look quickly at Spy-Hopping with Orca Whales in your reader. Don’t read it, just find the words fluke, spy-hop, and breach. Read the paragraph that contains these words.

Write definitions for fluke, spyhop, and breach in your own words.

Word What it means in my own words
1. fluke
2. spy-hop
3. breach

4. Look at these sentences from the reading. Make a guess about what word goes in the blank. Does your guess sound right? Does it make sense? Write down your words.

a. When a baby is born it comes out tail first. The mother brings it to the _____________ of the water. The baby takes its first breath of air.

b. The biggest _________________ to orca whales is people. People build dams on rivers. The dams kill many salmon. With fewer salmon to eat, orca whales die, too.

c. In British Columbia, orca whales do something we do not understand. They come onto some beaches and rub their bodies on the smooth, round ________________.

d. Their two flippers help them steer. Their fin keeps them ________________ when they go fast.

Use Your Strategies

Now it’s time to read Spy-Hopping with Orca Whales. You will see some bold words. If you do not know the word, look at the guess you wrote for the task above. Does it help you figure out the word?

Check Your Understanding

Are these statements true or false?

Look back at the reading to find the answer. Then see if your guesses at the start of the chapter were right.

1. A male orca whale can live up to 90 years.

2. Orca whales hunt by sending out sound waves and listening as the waves come back.

3. If a whale’s fin flops to one side, it is a sign that the whale is stressed out.

4. Orca whales mate for life.

5. Orca whales can hold their breath underwater for up to one hour.

Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter. 

The reading talks about three ways that people are a threat to orca whales

6. What are the three ways? Write a summary paragraph. Then check your spelling and grammar. Follow this format when you write your paragraph:

a. Topic sentence.

b. Details of the three ways people are a threat to orca whales. Use your own words.

c. Concluding sentence.

Ask your instructor to check your work.

Grammar

Grammar Rule

Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different meanings. For example, male and mail are homonyms. They sound the same. But a male is a man and mail is a letter or package with a stamp on it.

It is important to know which words are homonyms so that you can learn to spell the word that you mean. This way, your reader will understand what you are saying.

Spy-Hopping with Orca Whales has lots of homonyms.

Try this

Tale and tail sound the same. But they have different meanings. Look at these sentences:

a. In some tales, orca whales take people from canoes and turn them into whales, too.

b. Orca whales have tails called flukes. Their flukes give them power when swimming.

1. Which word means “story”? Tale or tail?

2. Which word means “the back part of an animal’s body”? Tale or tail?

 

No and know sound the same. But they have different meanings. Look at these sentences:

a. Did you know that orca whales cannot breathe underwater?

b. In British Columbia, orca whales do something no one understands.

3. Which word means “not any”? No or know?

4. Which word means “to have learned something”? No or know?

 

There and their sound the same. But they have different meanings. Look at these sentences:

a. Their fin keeps them stable when they go fast.

b. Up north, they tip floating sea ice so that seals, walruses, and sea lions will slide into the mouth of another whale who has been waiting there.

5. Which word means “in that place”? There or their?

6. Which word shows that “something belongs to someone”? There or their?

 

Two, to, and too sound the same. But they have different meanings. Look at these sentences:

a. Their two flippers help them steer.

b. Often the fins of whales that are kept in pools flop to one side.

c. The dams kill many salmon. With fewer salmon to eat, orca whales die, too.

7. Which word means “as well.”

8. Which word has to do with “the direction something is moving”?

9. Which word means “the number 2”?

Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter. 

Writing

Writing Task

Imagine that there was an oil spill off the coast of British Columbia.

AUDIO-1-BT-44x44You are a newspaper reporter. Write a paragraph about what happened. Include the five W’s – who, what, where, when, why – and how. Predict how the oil spill will affect wildlife in British Columbia.

Make a web before you write. Ask your instructor for a Make a Web sheet, or open and print one from the link.

You can use ideas from the reader, but do not copy word for word.

When you have finished:

  1. Check that you used past and future tenses correctly.
  2. If you used any homonyms from this chapter, check that you used the correct spelling.
  3. Hand in your first copy to your instructor.
  4. Make changes based on your instructor’s feedback.
  5. Hand in your web with your first and final copies.

Answer Key

Reading Strategy
QUESTION ANSWER
1 fact
2 opinion
3 fact
4 fact
5 opinion
Word Attack Strategy
QUESTION ANSWER
1 A fluke is a tail.
2  Spy-hop is when the whale stays upright in the water.
3  Breach is when the whale jumps right out of the water.
4. Answers will vary.
Check Your Understanding
QUESTION ANSWER
1 false
2 true
3 true
4 true
5 false
6 Example Paragraph: People are a threat to orca whales in three main ways. First, they build dams. The dams kill the salmon that the whales feed on. Second, they cause oil spills that harm the animals that orca whales eat. Soon after, this harms the whales themselves. Third, they remove orca whales from the wild. The whales usually die within five years. In these ways, people harm the lives of orca whales.
Grammar
QUESTION ANSWER
1 tale
2 tail
3 no
4 know
5 there
6 their
7 too
8 to
9 two

Attributions

Orca whales jumping by skeeze is in the public domain.

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Spy-Hopping with Orca Whales by Shantel Ivits is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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